Audit: Parking Authority “Ineffective in Controlling Costs”

The Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) is "ineffective in controlling costs" says a city audit of the agency. That may seem like a "duh" statement to many city residents, but with the city in the midst of a financial crisis, its no laughing matter.

In the 37-page preliminary report, the city highlights mismanagement, lost revenue, and misuse of privileges. "We think its possible for them to be a lot more profitable," City Controller Allan Butkovitz said Wednesday. Auditors Milligan & Co., who were hired back in 2007, believes the city is missing out on more than $1 million in fees each year. The city is looking for answers as to where that money is going.

One place could be the salaries of the agency's managers."They've got a lot of managers," said Butkovitz. The manager-to-employee ratio within some areas of the PPA is one manager for every three employees. Other managers oversee as many as six employees.

The audit, which itself is costing the city $177,000, also alleges that the agency consistantly fails to comply with a state rules on contract bidding. State agencies are required to release contracts worth more than $25,000 to the public for competitive bid, but Butkovitz says the PPA "has a practice of avoiding that requirement."

Butkovitz also wants to know who is using 82 free parking badges at Philadelphia International Airport. The agency failed to provide the names of employees using the badges by the audit deadline. The PPA claims the passes are used to manage its airport facilities and has since passed that information along to the auditors, an authority spokesperson told the Daily News.

The PPA is reviewing the audit draft and is expected to respond before a final version is released.

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